Craig Hocker wrote:
Actually at the Instructor's intensives I have been to, it's the opposite. which I prefer. You begin with Ki meditation and natural breathing. basically getting your mind calm/relaxed and eventually transition into Ki breathing. With the mind calm, the body relaxes right away and I find Ki breathing more natural and longer.
The general rule for most "meditation" (I hate to call it that because sometimes it's meditation but sometimes it's actually focused intent) practices that include breathing and other things is that first there is a quietness and relaxation, shutting out thoughts, etc., in order to gain a rapport with the subconscious. Sort of like the access you gain using a pendulum, oui-ja board, or similar things, if you've ever done it. Once the rapport is established and allowed to strengthen itself, then usually the breathing and/or kokyu practices (which you can do even seated with your eyes closed) begin. The rapport is one of the key elements so I'd agree that's the usual start. However, if you're having trouble settling your mind down, I'd also agree that doing some slow, focused breathing is a good way to settle the mind and then begin the rapport.